November 25, 2009

Since 1993, Mexico has participated in South America's Copa America as an invited guest, and had planned on participating in the next edition, scheduled for the summer of 2011.

However, that could come to a crashing halt if outside influences have their way.

Mexican Football Federation president Justino Compean said the possibility of Mexico not playing in the Copa America exists.

"What's happened is there is a movement on the part of UEFA who does not want national teams from different confederations play as invited guests in another confederations' tournaments," Compean told Record. "That's the case with Mexico, who is from CONCACAF playing with CONMEBOL in Copa America."

UEFA clubs would likely benefit from a ruling by FIFA that would not allow invited guests in regional tournaments. The fewer international games their players could potentially play in, after all, the less of a chance of risk for injury and the like.

In 2007, Mexico participated in both the Gold Cup and Copa America, playing for nearly two months across two continents. While El Tri used different rosters for the two tournaments, both rosters featured players based in Europe.

However, Compean insisted such a matter is best dealt with between the confederations whom would be directly affected.

"It's something that CONMEBOL and CONCACAF should arrange," Compean said. "It's obvious that our obligation to the Gold Cup comes first, and that we play that every two years and every four years that is complicated because of Copa America."

Two years ago, that was the case.

"We had to fly directly [from Chicago] to Venezuela and that's something CONCACAF doesn't really want," Compean said. "But I think we have a sufficient amount of arguments for us to continue playing in Copa America. For Mexico it is very important to play in Copa America."

As far as the potential UEFA influence on such matters, Compean said he spoke with FIFA President Joseph Blatter about the matter.

"I took advantage of the visit by Mr. Blatter and [CONCACAF President Jack] Warner to Mexico and ask them to not make this a matter with UEFA," Compean said. "CONMEBOL invited us and we already accepted."

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